Wind power in Pakistan: Wind turbines can save environment

Allah has blessed Pakistan with great potential of wind energy. According to Alternate Energy Development Board, a survey was carried out by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA in collaboration of USAID, has indicated a potential for generating 346,000 megawatts (MW) through renewable energy in Pakistan. The Gharo – Keti Bandar wind corridor spreading 60 KM along the coastline of Sind Province and more than 170 Km deep towards the land alone has a potential of approximately 50,000 MW.

According to Pakistan Energy Year Book 2011, during 2010-11, 33,186 GWH of electricity was produced by consuming 8,138,954 tons oil at an efficiency of 36.33%. This has generated 16 million tons of CO2 that is destroying our environment by damaging the ozone layer.

According to Energy Year Book, during 2010-11, total transmission and distribution loss of electricity was 15,315 GWH that costs around Rs 300 billion. That is increasing the load on government and government has to inject around Rs 300 billion to cover this loss. The government has left with the following options: a) Take action and reduce the transmission and distribution losses b) Shift all the expense and theft to public in shape of increased tariff and c) Reduce the cost of production.

If government use this Rs 300 billion intelligently and invest it in projects that can put a significant effect of energy prices rather than carelessly giving subsidy for the purchase of expensive oil. Government can invest one year of subsidy amount around 300 Billion rupees for installation of wind power plants. The wind power plants of 1,500 MW can be installed with this amount. Alternate Energy Development Board has estimated a capacity factor of 32~33% on wind power plants but we remain on conservative side and calculate the saving at annual capacity factor of 30%.

If these wind plants of 1,500 MW installed by government, they can produce 3,942 GWH of electricity in a year that is 11.88 % of total generation on oil. Each unit produce on oil costs around Rs 22. If we consider Rs 5 per unit as operating and maintenance cost of wind power plant, still Rs 17 can be saved on each unit. This will be an annual saving of Rs 67 billion.

Now move to the other benefits, country will not need to import 967,000 tons of oil per year. Second thing is the saving to environment that those tankers will not need to run which have to transport this oil to the plants. That will save the environment and also reduce the import of oil for used running these tankers. Now move to the saving to our environment by replacing the electricity generation from oil to wind. This will save 3.02 billion tons of CO2 every year. These projects can also be registered as CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects, where each ton of CO2 can be sold at $ 8~9 in international carbon trading markets. This can bring the foreign exchange of $ 27.2 million annually.

It’s very sad for every Pakistani that our policy makers are not thinking on these lines and they are just wasting our hard earned tax money on subsidy for the purchase of expensive oil.

Muhammad Farhan is a chemical engineer and has five years of working experience in a Power Plant. His major areas of interest in the Power Plant are Performance monitoring and Environment and Energy Management. He also holds an MBA degree with major in Finance as well as a qualified LAC of ISO-14001 (EMS).